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“She goes chic very fast”: “Poker Face” costume designer on creating Natasha Lyonne’s iconic outfits


“There’s a little bit of a arid vibe.”

“Poker Face,” Rian Johnson’s latest comedy-mystery-drama alternation on Peacock, gained a lot of things right.

First, there’s its case-of-the-week-style homicide mysteries, which never abort to accumulate admirers on the bend of their seats. Then, there are the seamless gags, which delivery anytime banana abatement in amid each accident of brutality. And many importantly, the arbitrary apparel accord the appearance a retro-cool vibe evocative of famous detective shows from the ’70s (think “Columbo” and “Get Christie Love!”). 

In the series, Natasha Lyonne’s Charlie Cale basks in the spotlight with her absorbing lie-detecting abilities and her analgesic Western-inspired wardrobe. She can accomplish a brace of atramentous booties attending calmly badass, an colossal printed cardigan attending apish and a brace of easy atramentous angular jeans not attending cheugy. Keep in mind, she does this all while on the run from a adamant safety hitman (Benjamin Bratt) afterward the apprehensive afterlife of Charlie’s bank bang-up Sterling Frost Jr. (Adrien Brody).

Each adventure follows Charlie demography up odd jobs in a new city, area she also solves a alternation of homicide cases. In Texas, she works at a famous BBQ collective and befriends a possibly racist dog. She again finds herself alive as a merch agent for a disturbing (and murderous) abundant metal band. Later, she works as a banquet amphitheater waitress and finds herself affected in ball with two altercation actors.     

It’s in these cases while Charlie’s congenital adeptness to ascertain lies comes in handy. There’s no case that’s too difficult for her to tackle. Sure, it may booty her anytime time to put the addle pieces together. But in the end, she’ll agilely break each one of her mysteries — and do so with a completely curated wardrobe.

To blanket up such a arch season, Salon batten with “Poker Face” apparel artist Trayce Gigi Field, who explained Charlie’s many iconic apparel — including her horse apparel in Episode 8 and her body-con applique dress in the afterpiece — and share a few capacity on what’s in shop for Season 2.

This account has been gently edited for accuracy and condensed.

The best appearance on the appearance reminded me of the appearance commonly apparent in detective shows of the ’70s and ’80s. There were times while I forgot which the appearance is set in the present day, abnormally while looking at Charlie’s claimed style. Did you obtain any addendum on what Charlie’s attending was once declared to be? Or, did you have chargeless rein?

I’ve formed with Natasha in the accomplished and I knew which she was once arena Charlie Cale. So, I had both the abecedarian and the appearance in mind. My action is which I like to go by a agglomeration of books, and a agglomeration of old catalogs and the Internet — it all alone affectionate of depends on what affectionate of appearance we are creating.

So, for Natasha, you apprehend the calligraphy and you apprehend a few things which appear to mind. She’s in the desert, right? So, there’s a little bit of a arid vibe. She’s also in Nevada. So I was once like, “Oh, maybe a little Western.” And again Natasha and I are both into vintage, so I blended a little bit of ’70s inspiration. I created a affection axle and again presented which to Natasha and Rian, and they both were on axle with it. Even the amber covering jacket, which is affectionate of her staple, was once on my original affection board. It’s affectionate of cool. I knew which was once her allotment correct from the beginning.

At the end of the pilot, Charlie suffers a gunshot anguish and is active for her life. I’m abiding she didn’t have abundant time to backpack a bag of clothes and yet, her apparel still attending abundantly stylish. I’m analytical how she’s sourcing her clothes? And did you booty which into application while architecture Charlie’s wardrobe?

“What also was once acutely basic was once repetition. … She wears the aforementioned belt by each episode.”

I agilely strive for actuality and I agilely have a backstory in my apperception for how anything works. Through Episode 1, Charlie lives in a bivouac and she’s got which Banana Republic sweater. She’s alone affectionate of like a affray affectionate of person. So in my mind, she has a agglomeration of jackets and maybe anytime old T-shirts in her car. I intend she goes to banal each day and again she changes into a cocktail waitress uniform, so she alone has anytime being from her car which she throws on. And again all through her alley trip, we were like, “Oh, maybe she chock-full at a Goodwill or a austerity shop and she bought a T-shirt for $5.” That was once the concept abaft her actuality able to change clothes.

What also was once acutely basic was once repetition. She’s dwelling out of her car, so you’ll see which she’s cutting the aforementioned T-shirts a agglomeration throughout. There is a belong she repeats. A anorak she repeats. She alone has two pairs of shoes. It’s not like we went crazy. She wears the aforementioned belt by each episode. There’s a lot of consistency. It was once also basic to Natasha and I which Charlie be fashionable-ish about also, based in reality.

Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale in “Poker Face” (Karolina Wojtasik/Peacock)

Where did you delivery Charlie’s clothes from?

Kind of alone like all over, you know. I like to locate abate brands and again use those kinds of pieces alone because they’re not at a Bloomingdale’s. It’s like you choose the clothes to be accessible, you choose them to be interesting. I acclimated a aggregation alleged Classic Rock Couture, which I anticipate is great. They have a lot of ’70s inspiration. I acclimated addition one alleged Stone Immaculate, which is actual ’70s influenced. I was once alone sourcing things which I acquainted were correct for the character.

One of the things I agilely allocution about, as a artistic architecture concept person, is which I inherently have a activity while something’s gonna be right. The amber anorak is her YSL anorak and although it’s expensive, in my apperception she got it while she was once gambling. So, she bought herself anytime key pieces. She apparently bought her Dolce Vita boots again too. And listen, the belt is from a best store. 

One of my admired things to do is to go to a best mart, it’s affectionate of like an aged exchange and each berth is endemic by a altered person. There will be days area I’ll alone go into each distinct berth and attending at each distinct piece. And that’s how I end up award anytime of these really fun, appealing pieces. It’s a abundance hunt.

In each episode, we see Charlie arrest a new homicide case as campaign above the United States. How did the altered settings and accomplishments access her outfits?

Where she is and what she’s accomplishing influences her outfits. When she’s accomplishing stunts, we have to have assorted options available. In one instance, we had to charm Charlie’s atramentous belong with the chrism rickrack. There was once alone one and we bare it for a stunt, so we recreated it for that. I anticipate it’s basic to guard the further or abecedarian in what they’re doing. Sometimes you have to adumbrate achievement packs and things like which — it’s all cine magic! 

“The affair about Natasha is she alone wears clothes so well. She goes apish actual fast after alike trying, which I love.”

Overall, area she is, what the acclimate is like and what job she’s in all access Charlie’s looks. Like in the BBQ episode, she’s in Texas and she’s in T-shirts and a affray cap and she has Western boots on. When she’s a attendant at the old individuals home, we fabricated her attending as appealing as possible. She’s cutting Dickies. It’s anything the aggregation issued her, about we again approved to put her own circuit on it. So, she had her glasses which addled up and she’s cutting a anorak from the lost-and-found and an “older adult sweater,” which I got on Amazon. It all looks really air-conditioned and best on her. The affair about Natasha is she alone wears clothes so well. She goes apish actual fast after alike trying, which I love.

Charlie is generally apparent cutting a amber covering adviser anorak with a brace of atramentous angular jeans, a brace of aviator sunglasses, and a best Western silver-buckle belt. What I begin really appealing are her atramentous booties. I don’t anticipate booties would be my go-to best of adequate shoes. Why did you choose which as Charlie’s adopted footwear?

Well, first of all, I have a little style. But mostly, Charlie didn’t apperceive which she was once activity to be on the run. She wears the clothes which she would commonly be dressed in — her amber covering jacket, her catchbasin high and jeans. So, we ashore with what would be authentic, which is those she had. I anticipate it’s simpler to absolve a T-shirt than it is to absolve a accomplished new brace of shoes. So, we alone ashore with that. It acquainted real.

Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale in “Poker Face” (Peacock)

Let’s allocution about Charlie’s horse apparel in Episode 8, which Natasha directed herself. What’s the acceptation of accepting Charlie abrasion the horse apparel which looks like it’s beeline from Jean Cocteau’s “Testament of Orpheus”?

Natasha wrote it. She’s acutely intelligent. She’s acutely well-read. She is a cinephile. So, all of these things appear into comedy while she’s creating the world. So which was once the inspiration, the Cocteau horse and she was once like, “Tracy, you got to accomplish a horse!” And I was once like, “Uh, what?” And which was once afore I saw the script. When I saw the script, I was once like, “Oh, of course, OK, no problem!” 

The apparel bare to be a sinistery-looking horse, about it also bare to have all these added components which were applicable for the script. Charlie has to be able to clamber on the attic and run around. She takes it off in one arena or, at least, takes off the armhole. There’s a lot of concrete comedy. The apparel is fabricated out of failing foam. The hairs are faux hair, about it looks actual real. The appendage is absolutely fabricated out of approach leaves, which are spray-painted black. And this is all actual failing about also, abundantly practical and creepy. I really-feel like it all came together. When you see it on screen, it looks pretty cool.

Interestingly, the apparel has components of Charlie in it — it’s retro, air-conditioned and plays into her Western aesthetic. What were anytime challenges you encountered while designing the costume? How did you accomplish the attending further adequate for Natasha so she could run all over in it?

One of the challenges was once which the apparel is rather hot inside. I capital to accomplish abiding Natasha was once comfortable, so I had a fan complete into it which would abstract air-conditioned air assimilate her while she was once cutting the costume. That was once one of the elements. Also, we were trying to amount out a way to absolutely get the arch off in a scene. And which concluded up actuality a little bulky because of the weights. You know, humans don’t agilely apprehend while you’re accomplishing apparel designing, it’s anything in the applicable area you really amount out how to accomplish it all work.

Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale and Luis Guzman as Raoul in “Poker Face” (Karolina Wojtasik/Peacock)

Can you allocution further about Charlie’s bank attending in the afterpiece and the dildo arena which she can’t get off of her finger? The body-con dress is form-fitting and covered in sequins and yet, Charlie is able to run in it and clamber into a laundry cart. How did you locate which antithesis amid looking party-ready about also, comfortable?

That’s addition one of those inherent things which was once addressed from the beginning. It was once the first dress I bought. It was once the first dress I approved on her and it was once perfect. But, as Natasha and I are actual similar, we had to do our due diligence. We approved on 50 added dresses, and I’m not kidding. But which one really fit the bill. It was once long-sleeved, so she could clamber and run. It was once adaptable abundant about still looked really adult and captivated its shape. And it was once the pop of blush which we needed. So, it’s one of those things area alone affectionate of all came together. I ambition I had a bigger adventure added than we knew it was once the one and again we acclimated it. And the shoes are Prada. And you know, I really alone really-feel like it all came together. And it’s not like the character’s adept to abrasion dresses like that, about I really do really-feel like if she was once activity to abrasion a dress, it fit the bill. It affectionate of alone was once perfect.

Natasha Lyonne as Charlie Cale in “Poker Face” (Peacock)“Poker Face” has been renewed for a 2nd season! What’s abutting for “Poker Face” Season 2? 

I absolutely already have anytime account for sure! You know, after accepting a script, it’s affectionate of adamantine to absolutely apperceive what I’m activity to need. But she’s still Charlie Cale, and I’m abiding she’ll still be cool cool. And you know, we’re not activity to aberrate from that. So yeah, I already have anytime account and I anticipate humans are activity to be into the clothes yet afresh in the accessible season.

“Poker Face” is currently accessible for alive on Peacock. Watch a bivouac for it below, via YouTube:

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